Celebrating National Pesticide Safety Education Month


February is National Pesticide Safety Education Month, and this is a great time to review pesticide safety practices. The purpose of National Pesticide Safety Education Month is to reinforce core principles of safe pesticide use with many audiences and raise awareness of and support for the land-grant university Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs).

Everyone must focus on safety to protect themselves, others, and the environment, during pesticide transport, storage, application, and disposal. “There is no ‘downtime’ in the safe handling and use of pesticides,” notes Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., Executive Director of Science Policy for the Weed Science Society of America.

The National Pesticide Safety Education Month webpage contains a quiz to check your knowledge of some basic pesticide safety principles and a self-assessment to review some of your own pesticide safety practices at home, and at work. You can also view a sample of educational resources produced by land-grant university Pesticide Safety Education Programs and learn the importance of these programs.

Everyone aspires to having a safe home environment, healthy crops, successful conservation efforts, protection of agricultural workers…the list goes on, and very often requires the safe handling and use of pesticides.

Success in protecting yourself, others, and the environment depends on your personal knowledge and diligence when handling pesticides. Safe use of pesticides does not have a simple, one-size-fits-all solution, but here are some basic pesticide safety principles – a starting point for safety from purchase to disposal.

  • Read the entire pesticide label before purchase and use. You are legally required to read and follow everything on the label except the information about crops or sites that you are not going to treat.
  • Follow all applicable federal, state, tribal, and local laws and regulations concerning the use of pesticides and personal protective equipment.
  • Seek competent advice if there is something you don’t understand on the label or in other applicable laws and regulations.
  • Transport pesticides in the trunk or truck bed, separate from passengers, groceries or animal feed, and secure the containers to prevent spills.
  • Store pesticides in a locked cabinet or secure area, away from food, feed, or personal protective equipment.
  • Measure and mix pesticides in a well-ventilated area away from children, pets, toys, and food.
  • See more pesticide safety principles here.

The Weed Science Society of America, American Phytopathological Society, and Entomological Society of America (ESA) are among the many organizations in the public and private sector that promote pesticide safety during February and throughout the year.

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